If you’ve grown up as the one non-math person in a math family, you probably know this. If not, this may be interesting to you. Real math people don’t do numbers. Seriously. In our family, I am the token non-math person, which means that I have to keep score when we play games. Kind of pathetic really, given that I reverse numbers. Is it any wonder that I usually win games?
But this is what many serious math people are like. (I know since I have several non-math friends who grew up in math families.) The other day, Ariel was at the library finishing a matrix when Luke and Duncan arrived (they’d just finished Spanish class). Ariel said, “Quick, I’m almost done with this matrix. Tell me what’s 12 – 6?” Duncan whose siblings are not total math geeks said, “uh, six.”
Luke, who has experience, said, “Seven.”
Ariel said, “It’s not seven because seven is odd. When you subtract an even number from an even number you get an even number. I can write a proof for that. So, seven can’t be right.”
Duncan said, “How can you know the proof and not know that 12 – 6 = 6?”
Welcome to our world, Duncan.
It’s not usual while Ariel is doing homework to hear her call out, “What’s 8 x 4?”
I yell back, “32.” Then I grumble about that state of her math facts ability.
This semester Ariel is so impressed with her Advanced Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory professor because he “can actually divide two digit numbers in his head.” A lot of math profs can’t. I refrain from saying, “I can divide in my head too” because I know it wouldn’t be nearly so impressive—I’m not a math person so apparently it’s not an accomplishment.
So those of you who can’t remember math facts...apparently you’re just real math people. Aren’t you glad that you know?